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DePaul 78, Houston Baptist 58

The SportsXchange

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Forward Cleveland Melvin collected a season-high 28 points as DePaul marked the 100th anniversary of the late coach Ray Meyer's birth with a 78-58 non-conference victory over Houston Baptist on Wednesday.

Melvin added 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, helping the Blue Demons (7-4) win their third straight.

Forward Cody Joyce scored 14 points, and guard Rob Lewis added 11 for the Huskies, losers of three straight.

DePaul center Tommy Hamilton scored 14 points, and guard Brandon Young contributed 11 in the first-ever meeting between the teams.

The Blue Demons led 33-27 at halftime, then twice opened 11-point advantages. Houston Baptist climbed back to within single digits early each time, but the Blue Demons started to pull as the clock moved under nine minutes.

Melvin's jumper gave DePaul a 58-44 lead with 8:17 to go. DePaul guard Charles McKinney added two free throws 20 seconds later to make it 60-44. Melvin then scored five points in a 10-second span as the lead reached 65-45.

The Huskies (3-8) got no closer than 19 points the rest of the way, and they went more than four minutes without a basket in the late going.

Meyer, born on Dec. 18, 1913, coached 42 seasons at DePaul, posting a 724-324 career record and 37 winning seasons. He won the 1945 National Invitation Tournament championship and reached the NCAA Final Four in 1943 and 1979.

Meyer died in 2006 at age 92.

DePaul trailed 15-14 following Huskies guard Marcel Smith's 3-pointer with 11:43 left in the first half. But the Blue Demons then employed an 11-2 run -- including six points from Melvin -- to open a 26-17 lead with 7:23 left.

The Huskies closed the gap to 31-27 following guard Tyler Russell's 3-pointer with 54 seconds left, but Melvin hit two free throws for a 33-27 lead entering halftime.

Neither team shot particularly well in the opening half, hovering in the mid-30 percent range. But the Blue Demons did manage 10 points off 10 turnovers. Melvin scored a game-high 15 points in the first half, while Joyce paced Houston Baptist with eight.

NOTES: DePaul played its final home non-conference game of the season. The Blue Demons are 6-2 on campus and at Allstate Arena. ... After two road games, including Sunday at Illinois State, the Blue Demons kick off Big East play on Dec. 31 at Georgetown. ... DePaul G Billy Garrett Jr. was named Big East rookie of the week after averaging 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in two wins last week. ... Brandon Young is the first DePaul guard since Rod Strickland (1985-88) to record 100 assists in three straight seasons. ... The DePaul stop was the first of four consecutive road games for Houston Baptist, a run that takes the Huskies to Pepperdine, Oral Roberts and Central Arkansas through Jan. 4. ... Coach Ron Cottrell is in his 23rd season at the school and is 423-300 overall.
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